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Fears over rising crime and police morale in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 09:46 16 May 2011

Police officers on duty keep a close eye on some of the fans at the Ipswich versus Norwich game

Police officers on duty keep a close eye on some of the fans at the Ipswich versus Norwich game

Copyright Ashley Pickering

FEARS of rising crime and a poorer service due to multi-million pound cutbacks have left Suffolk police angry and disenchanted, their federation has warned.

The bleak snapshot of dwindling morale comes as a national survey of officers by the federation reflected growing concerns about the public being short-changed by cuts in Government funding.

The online survey - to which 42,000 officers responded - shows police believe slashing 20pc from the their budget over the next four years, and a reduction in officer numbers, will have a detrimental effect on crime levels.

Suffolk Police Federation felt the responses nationally mirrored those of the county’s officers and criticised the Government for appearing to fail the public.

Chairman Matt Gould said: “Suffolk officers echo the views of their colleagues in the rest of the country.

“Their morale has been sapped and they are angry that government cuts of 20pc will affect the service they offer the public.

“The government’s own inspectorate, the HMIC, told the government cuts above 12pc would directly impact on front-line policing.

“Officers will continue to answer 999 calls, but lower level calls for service may be adversely impacted.

“Suffolk police officers want to serve the people of Suffolk. It’s a pity the government does not share this ideal.

“Thanks to its officers and staff, Suffolk Constabulary is one of the lowest cost and most efficient forces in the country. Despite the cuts to funding, we will continue to provide the highest levels of service possible within the constraints of our reducing budget.”

The Police Federation’s national survey showed 98pc of officers feel morale has fallen owing to planned police budget cuts and the possibility of a reduction in police officer numbers. In addition they are worried about possible changes to their terms and conditions, and how this will all impact upon the service they are able to give to the public.

More than 85pc felt cutting officer numbers will have a detrimental effect on crime levels due to the increased workload.

Paul McKeever, of the Norfolk Police Federation - who is Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, warned: “The message from police officers across England and Wales is loud and clear.

“They feel they are being hit from all sides by a government who appear intent on pushing terms and conditions back decades, cutting police numbers and imposing a 20pc cut on the service which will undoubtedly lead to increased levels of crime and a poorer service for the public.

“If this government truly believes in considered and informed change for the better then they should have the courage of their convictions and establish a Royal Commission on policing.

“They also need to urgently revisit the decision to impose a 20% budget cut on the overall policing budget. Such a severe cut will result in a criminal’s charter and undoubtedly see crime levels rise, an increase in the public fear of crime and a less resilient police service.”

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